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Academy Town Square

town square bob casey

town square bob casey 

The Academy’s Town Square series is designed to engage and provide relevant educational content to the public on environmental issues. Town Squares focus on critical global issues in environmental science by featuring prominent thought leaders and their findings on biodiversity, freshwater issues, climate change, and evolution. Environmental advocates, scientists, and community members come together for an opportunity to further their knowledge about environmental and sustainability matters through accurate, real-time scientific information.

Upcoming Town Square Events: 

Town Square

Tomorrow Is Now: How Will We Survive a Changing Climate?
March 4, 2019, 6:30 pm.

Join us for a Town Square with Drexel Professor Scott Knowles, an expert on urban disasters.

Extreme storms, increased flooding, deadly heat waves, sea level rise. Climate change is happening now, and it is affecting our own neighborhoods. Join us for an Academy Town Square about what Philadelphia and the region are doing — or should be doing — to address this critical issue. Drexel University Professor Scott Knowles, an expert on urban disasters, will lead the discussion among city and regional officials and scientists. They will provide insight into how we can prepare for climate changes ahead.

Free with registration. Click below to register.


  • Scott Knowles, PhD, Head, Department of History, Drexel University, and urban disaster expert


  • Saleem Chapman, Deputy Director of Sustainability, City of Philadelphia

  • Howard C. Kunreuther, PhD, James G. Dinan Professor, Operations and Information Management Professor, Decision Sciences and Business Economics and Public Policy Co-Director, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

  • Nathaniel PopkinAuthor, Editor, Historian, Co-author: Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City

  • Mira S. Olson, PhD, Associate Professor, Civil Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University

lava flow

Global Shifts: Earth Through the Lens of Artist Edward Burtynsky
Co-Presented by Philadelphia Contemporary
5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 3

We are now living in the era scientists have dubbed the Anthropocene, the time period when human activity is the dominant influence on climate, extinction events and the geological landscape of the planet. Celebrated Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has spent years documenting this dilemma of our modern existence. His photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are housed in over 60 public collections and exhibited by museums around the world. In his talk, Burtynsky will discuss works from his decades-long career, including his most recent photographic series, Anthropocene. Photographs from Anthropocene and earlier series are featured in his upcoming exhibition Megaresources, presented by Philadelphia Contemporary and opening May 2019 at Atelier FAS Gallery, 1301 N. 31st St.

Ted Daeschler in Antarctica

Cold Hard Science in Antarctica: A Paleontology Adventure
Presented with WHYY’s The Pulse
Tuesday, April 30, 6:30 p.m.

What’s it like to dig for fossils in one of the most inhospitable places on earth? Academy Curator of Paleontology Ted Daeschler recently returned from his second action-packed expedition to Antarctica in search of Devonian-age fish. Join Daeschler in his conversation with Maiken Scott, host of WHYY’s The Pulse, as he reveals the complex logistics and challenging conditions he and his team endured to reach a treasure trove of fossils they hope will shed new light on the origins of life. This Academy Town Square talk is free.

Past Events: 

Voting for the Environment

On October 24, the Academy hosted a round-table discussion with key environmental organizations about important issues that affect the local and global environment and how the upcoming election will influence them.

Watch the Town Square: